Recent Searches
Clear

How to Spend 3 Days in the Bay of Islands

star-5
272 reviews
How to Spend 3 Days in the Bay of Islands
While visiting the Bay of Islands, you have two main home-base options. Choose the thriving tourist center of Paihia as a jumping-off point for most cruises and outdoor activities—or the quaint, quieter seaside village of Russell. Here’s how to make the most of a 3-day stay. 

Day 1: Water play
Take a closer look at all those beckoning islands. Since the 1920s, a boat has made its way around the islands to deliver mail and collect milk and cream from the dairy farms—you, too, can take this “cream trip” aboard a more luxurious vessel. Or, zip between Russell and Paihia on a ferry. Options abound for day cruises: zoom through the Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett by high-speed catamaran, sail through the maritime park on a vintage schooner, or swim alongside dolphins in their natural habitat.

Craving more water time? An overnight cruise settles the matter, with opportunities for island hikes, fishing and kayaking, and swimming and snorkeling while your boat is anchored at a picturesque cove in the bay. 

Day 2: Cultural and natural history
Combine culture and nature at Waitangi River, a local estuary whose crown jewel is Haruru Falls. Paddle there by kayak, or join a traditional waka crew and explore the area by Maori-led canoe. Discover local customs at a Maori meeting house, and learn the haka war dance. Alternatively, book a day pass to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds just north of central Paihia. Stay for a cultural performance and a traditional-style hangi feast of meat and vegetables cooked over hot stones.

If time allows, check out Kerikeri, the earliest permanent British settlement in New Zealand—now a charming artists’ town.

Day 3: On the move
Time to go farther afield. Opt for a scenic plane flight to Cape Reinga, or take a helicopter ride to Cape Brett, making sure to land on top of the Hole in the Rock. Adrenaline seekers can parasail or skydive over turquoise waters. 

If staying grounded is more your thing, a ride on a wheelchair-accessible motorbike trike is a unique way to tour the region. Or, go hiking in the subtropical Puketi rain forest for a glimpse of the Northland’s birdlife and ancient kauri trees. Alternatively, rent a mountain bike and pedal along the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Read More
Bay of Islands Tours & Activities (13)
Category
Filter
Select Dates
Today
Tomorrow




Did you know?You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.
Learn more
Did you know?
You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.Learn more
Sort by:Featured
Bay of Islands Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock Day Cruises

Bay of Islands Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock

star-4.5
Slip through the famous 'Hole in the Rock' in New Zealand’s Northland during this half-day Bay of Islands cruise by high-speed catamaran. Pass rocky outcrops, sandy beaches and an array of islands as you make your way out to the Cape Brett Lighthouse, and Motu Kokako Island. Keep an eye out for dolphins and other marine and birdlife.
...  More
Booked by 2,295 travellers
  • 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD78 
From  
USD78 
Learn More
  • 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on 'R. Tucker Thompson' Including BBQ LunchSailing Trips

Bay of Islands Tall Ship Sailing on 'R. Tucker Thompson' Including BBQ Lunch

star-5
Sail the Bay of Islands on a working tall ship aboard the famed ‘R. Tucker Thompson,’ built in the tradition of a 100-year-old Northland schooner. Ply the waters of the pristine bay, where you can help hoist the sails, climb the rigging or simply relax on board, then swim while anchored in a sheltered bay in the maritime park. Enjoy morning tea and a barbecue lunch, with an optional complimentary ferry ride from Paihia to Russell, where your vessel departs.
...  More
Booked by 889 travellers
  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD103 
From  
USD103 
Learn More
  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Bay of Islands Cruise & Island Tour - Snorkel, Hike, Swim, Paddleboard, WildlifeDay Cruises

Bay of Islands Cruise & Island Tour - Snorkel, Hike, Swim, Paddleboard, Wildlife

star-5
Let seafaring experts show you the best of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands by land and by water on this adventure cruise. With 144 different isles, it can be hard to know where to start, but your captain and crew know all the best spots to swim, snorkel, stand-up paddleboard, and spot marine life. Hop off at two hand-picked islands for a hike to panoramic lookout points and beachside tea with biscuits.
...  More
Booked by 359 travellers
  • 5 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD73 
From  
USD73 
Learn More
  • 5 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your must-do activities without being locked in
Authentic Maori Hangi Dinner and Concert at Waitangi Treaty GroundsTheater, Shows & Musicals

Authentic Maori Hangi Dinner and Concert at Waitangi Treaty Grounds

star-5
Spend an evening immersed in Maori culture with a traditional ‘hangi’ dinner and live performance, held at the historically important signing site of the Waitangi Treaty. Learn about the treaty at a brand-new museum, enact a warrior challenge on  a bush walk, and watch energetic Maori music and dance. For dinner, feast on a multilayered meal cooked using the ancient hangi pit oven method. A day pass and guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are also included.
...  More
Booked by 170 travellers
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD78 
From  
USD78 
Learn More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter TourNature & Wildlife

Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Tour

star-5
Discover the Bay of Islands by helicopter, with an optional landing at the Hole in the Rock. See Cape Brett from above during an aerial tour from Paihia, narrated by a professional pilot. Fly over Russell and Waitangi en route to the Hole in the Rock. Upgrade to land atop the iconic natural landmark, with an optional walk led by a Maori guide.
...  More
Booked by 100 travellers
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD173 
From  
USD173 
Learn More
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

V8 Trike Tours, Bay of Islands - Bay Combo Tour approx 60 mins (min 2)Private Sightseeing Tours

V8 Trike Tours, Bay of Islands - Bay Combo Tour approx 60 mins (min 2)

star-5
Explore the Bay of Islands from the seat of a 350 Chev Trike for a fun-filled and memorable experience. You can choose from three different routes that include some of the area’s must-see sights, or combine them all for a longer trip. Your driver keeps you safe and gives you local insights into the Paihia area. This tour is wheelchair accessible, so anyone can join.
...  More
Booked by 174 travellers
  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD80 
From  
USD80 
Learn More
  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Discover Kerikeri - Afternoon Tour from the Bay of Islands Half-day Tours

Discover Kerikeri - Afternoon Tour from the Bay of Islands

star-4.5
Take an afternoon day trip from Paihia to Kerikeri for a tour of the historical settlement. A knowledgeable guide takes you to the Stone Store and Mission House, home to New Zealand’s first permanent mission station. Then visit an organic vineyard for a wine and coffee tasting, and enjoy further delights at a local chocolate factory.
...  More
Booked by 139 travellers
  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD42 
From  
USD42 
Learn More
  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cape Reinga Half-Day Tour Including Scenic FlightNature & Wildlife

Cape Reinga Half-Day Tour Including Scenic Flight

star-5
Fly over the Northland coastline on a scenic flight between Paihia and Cape Reinga. Soar above Ninety Mile Beach before landing for a 2.5-hour minibus tour at the top end of New Zealand's North Island. Visit Cape Reinga Lighthouse, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, then stroll along the beach at Tapotupotu Bay and surf the sand dunes of Te Paki. Look down on remote Parengarenga Harbour and Great Exhibition Bay on your return flight. Includes morning tea and round-trip hotel transfers.
...  More
Booked by 110 travellers
  • 4 hours 30 minutes
From  
USD297 
From  
USD297 
Learn More
  • 4 hours 30 minutes

Parasailing Adventure over the Bay of IslandsOther Water Sports

Parasailing Adventure over the Bay of Islands

star-5
There are few more unique ways to see the Bay of Islands than catching the wind and parasailing high above the water. See the Bay’s towns, forests and islands – all the way out to Cape Brett’s famous Hole in the Rock – from the sky on this aerial adventure. Take to the skies with your friends or family on tandem or triple flights. Your children can even go parasailing – this adventure is suitable for all.
...  More
Booked by 127 travellers
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD64 
From  
USD64 
Learn More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise - 22 HoursDay Cruises

The Rock Adventure Overnight Cruise - 22 Hours

star-5
The Rock overnight cruise in the Bay of Islands is the only overnight cruise in the area to offer such a wide range of activities, including kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, island walks, and more. Enjoy adventure activities as well as time to relax in peaceful nature. As this is an all-inclusive tour you don’t need to worry about any logistics. Just show up ready for fun.
...  More
Booked by 31 travellers
  • 22 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD247 
Price varies by group size
From  
USD247 
Price varies by group size
Learn More
  • 22 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Waitangi River Traditional Maori Waka Tour and Waitangi Treaty Grounds Day PassHalf-day Tours

Waitangi River Traditional Maori Waka Tour and Waitangi Treaty Grounds Day Pass

star-5
Discover the beauty of the Waitangi River estuary and experience Maori traditions during a 3-hour cruise in a traditional canoe (waka) with a local Maori guide. Learn traditional paddling techniques in the calm waters of the estuary and make your way to Haruru Falls. Your guide shares informative commentary about Ngapuhi customs and history, and points out wildlife as you glide along. Disembark to visit a Ngapuhi meeting house and perhaps meet people from this Maori community. You'll also learn the moves of a 'haka' — an ancient Maori war dance.
...  More
Booked by 79 travellers
  • 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD88 
From  
USD88 
Learn More
  • 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Bay of Islands Skydive from 12,000 ft. with 40-Second Free Fall4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

Bay of Islands Skydive from 12,000 ft. with 40-Second Free Fall

star-5
Experience 40 seconds of thrilling freefall as you skydive the Bay of Islands, then drift back to earth with views of 144 islands and turquoise water. Jump in tandem with an instructor from 12,000 feet (3,658 mt.), with the option to purchase photos and video footage of your Bay of Islands skydive. This skydive adventure includes pickup and drop-off at locations in central Paihia and Kerikeri.
...  More
Booked by 7 travellers
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD218 
From  
USD218 
Learn More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Puketi Rainforest Guided Walks .This is not a Shore Excursion product .Day Trips

Puketi Rainforest Guided Walks .This is not a Shore Excursion product .

star-5
Walk among towering kauri trees in the Puketi Rainforest on a half-day, full-day or nighttime guided hike, starting from Okaihau in the Bay of Islands. A knowledgeable guide points out rare bird and plant species while you trek past thundering waterfalls on a moderately strenuous footpath though the subtropical rainforest — suitable for strong hikers. Numbers are limited to a maximum of six people to ensure a small-group experience. Morning or afternoon tea with optional lunch are included, depending on tour selected.
...  More
Booked by 33 travellers
  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD52 
From  
USD52 
Learn More
  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation


icon_solid_phone
Book online or call
(888) 651-9785
(888) 651-9785